June 2012 Issue

Semper Ubi Sub Ubi


And you may ask yourself What happened to the month of May?

And you may say, This is not my beautiful May Issue of The Word Detective!

And you may say, No, seriously, this is supposed to be a monthly deal! I’m paying to read this on my Kindle!

And I say, Mea culpa. You really wanna know what happened? OK, but after the jump.

Meanwhile, I did finally finish reading the 10,000-page opus 1Q84 by Haruki Murakami (on my little Nook, with the font jacked up to 72 points). My one-word review: incompetent. Boy howdy, what a waste. A real shame. And I’m still annoyed at this dead goat of a book. Then again, I’m not alone. I just really wish I’d read this (major spoilers) before I wasted my time and retinas. Ho, ho, ho.

What else? Well, Google+ is pretty definitively kaput as far as I can tell. Frankly, they made it so difficult for non-heavy-hitters to play that I’m not gonna miss ’em. Keep your dumb old API read-only, see if I care.

On the bright side, I’m here to say that I was wrong about Twitter. Someone recently tweeted (still hate that verb) that signing up for the service was like seeing “mastheads come to life,” which is a good way of putting it. I follow mostly writers, editors and  journalists, and often see pointers to great stuff to read online that I otherwise would have missed. I’m also a fan of accounts like @pourmecoffee, @kenjennings and the late, all too  brief @NotTildaSwinton. I know it was actually just two guys without jobs, but … maybe it really was Tilda. Come back, Tilda. Your Tildren miss you, and we miss your wisdom:

A mission for you. Go outside, hold an animal to your breast. That is real warmth, not the glow of your screen. I typed this on a rabbit.

Or maybe not. I guess wherever you are they don’t have biting flies.

Speaking of biting flies, I would be remiss if I didn’t mention the recent brouhaha occasioned by the decision by The New Yorker to commission a review of Henry Hitchings’ new book “The Language Wars: A History of Proper English” (Farrar, Straus & Giroux) by their, um, dance critic, Joan Acocella (who may be a fine dance critic but, in this case, has literally no grasp whatsoever of the subject she’s writing about). What, as they say on the internet, could possibly go wrong? A lot, in fact, and Steven Pinker summed it up nicely thus:

Not since Saturday Night Live’s Emily Litella thundered against conserving natural racehorses and protecting endangered feces has a polemicist been so incensed by her own misunderstandings.

Language Log was, of course, there for the ensuing dustup, and a good place to start, for those with lots of spare time and a desire to understand the ruckus, would be here. By the way, my father, William Morris, is mentioned early on in Ms. Aocella’s jeremiad. I’m fairly certain that he would not have been amused by her hallucinations.

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